OCT 2014

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 42 of 59

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 43 S O U T H T E X A S & H O U S T O N Nathan Tollett, Director of Sales for the Greater Houston CVB, is pumped about Houston's prospects as a premier meeting destination. He explains, "No less than the New York Times named Houston the top US destination to visit in 2013. Meeting planners have numerous first class hotels and event venues coupled with Southern hospitality and award winning cus- tomer service. Additionally, Houston has over 8,000 restaurants featuring over 35 different cuisines, along with copious entertainment options for attendees to enjoy." The George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center is named for the late Houston entrepre- neur, civic leader and philanthropist George R. Brown, who donated six of the eleven city blocks required to build the stunning red-white- and-blue convention center. The complex was designed by a consortium of Houston architects and engineers to capture the spirit of the city. "It was designed to reflect the city's futuristic attitude, from technology at NASA to research at the Texas Medical Center to the offshore drilling rigs," said chief designer Mario Bolullo of Golemon & Bolullo Architects. At 1.8 million square feet of flexible meeting, exhibit, and registration space, the convention center facility is impressive, but the true success of an event is in the planning. The GRB has comprehensive planning, business, catering, technology, and logistics services to streamline the process. Its location is central to its success; flanked by Toyota Center and the Hilton Ameri- cas-Houston on the south end, Minute Maid Park on the north, and Discovery Green downtown park as its front yard, the GRB is perfectly posi- tioned in the center of a lively sports, dining, entertainment and nightlife district. Accommodations in the GRB area abound, with more on the way. Construction will begin on a 1,000-room Marriott Marquis in the coming months, with an estimated completion date of mid-2016. The hotel will be connected to the north side of the GRB, opposite the 1,200-room Hilton Americas-Houston that is already connected to the south side. The 102-year-old Samuel F. Carter Building has been gutted as crews work to transform it into a 323-room JW Marriott at the corner of Rusk and Main streets in the center of Down- town. The hotel will include 10,000 square feet of meeting space. The Inn at the Ballpark, across from Minute Maid Park, has rebranded as the Westin Houston Downtown. The conversion of the Landry's- owned property included updated furnishings and finishes throughout, fitness center expansion and a new lobby and lobby bar. Just a few blocks west of the convention center, the historic Humble Oil Building com- plex at Main Street and Dallas is getting a new 166-room SpringHill Suites hotel. The complex is already home to a 191-room Courtyard by Marriott and 171-room Residence Inn. ■ I N S I D E R ' S G U I D E By Sabe Fink Houston Has A Futuristic Attitude Opening late 2016, the Marriott Marquis Houston (shown in this rendering) will be located in downtown Houston and connected via skybridge to the George R. Brown Convention Center. ■ BOOK NOW!

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